Embracing the Mess

Embracing the Mess

The first time I heard the term “Terrible Twos” was when my husband prayed for our sons on their 2nd birthday. I turned to Wikipedia for clarification, and here’s what I found…

Terrible twos may refer to:

A child development stage which normally occurs around the age of two (but can start earlier) and consists of toddlers often saying no and throwing temper tantrums

My husband had figured the coming year would be challenging for us as three toddlers simultaneously turned two. And he prayed for grace and strength for us as parents. Wise man!

I had no clue what I was getting in to! Age 2 (and 3) were by far the most physically & emotionally challenging years for me as a mother. {Apparently, the terrible twos spill over into the terrifying threes!!!} The only way I made it through most days, was prayer… loads of prayer. The kind that you whisper amid tears, and scream amid tantrums… 🙂

Another thing that helped, was to let the boys just be boys. They wanted to run and shout, scream and jump, bang stuff and make a huge mess. As an only child to my parents, it was extremely hard for me to adjust to my boys’ behavior. But thankfully my husband was a bit more experienced in this department.

We let them jump from the couch / table / bed onto pillows and mattresses laid on the floor.

We let them climb windows (with a couch underneath it for a softer landing if they did fall).

And we let them make a mess.

The last one was something I resisted with ALL my heart. I did NOT want to clean up 3 boys (and clean up after them) in the middle of the day! Again, I had to come to terms with it…

The boys were gifted a pack of finger paints and they were intent on using it. I kept trying to dissuade them until their father returned home. But they wouldn’t be put off! I made a hasty phone call to my husband to check how far away from home he was, and on his insistence, I let the boys have the paints.

I gave them papers to paint on, but they obviously felt the walls were a bigger, better canvas. I cringed at first. Then I stood back and let them be. Oh what a mess they had made!

That mess seemed to depict exactly the stage of life I was in. Tired, exhausted, cranky (me & the kids), worn out and messy. Thankfully, the sons were washable (and surprisingly, so were the walls!) And guess what… so was that part of my life.

I look back at that messy time with fond memories now. It definitely wasn’t easy to go through it then, but God has taught me a lot through that phase. He taught me patience, self-control, kindness, unconditional love, and self-sacrifice. Lessons I wouldn’t have learnt otherwise. I have grown through the mess… and so will you.

If you have a toddler or two (or three) at home, believe me when I tell you, I understand what you are going through. Hang in there, sweet Mama. This too shall pass away!

The tantrums will cease.

They will be potty-trained.

They will be more open to correction.

They will be OK… and so will you!

You will come out of this phase – unscathed, older, wiser.

Until then… embrace the mess… and pray.

Definitely pray!

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